Public Works

Local law enforcement has agreed to enforce laws against theft of recyclable materials from curbside bins.
The Grove
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Agency plans to prosecute theft of waste
Waste collection asks local law officers to enforce laws against
theft from curbside recycle bins
The Hollister Police Department and the San Benito County
Sheriff’s Office will now be enforcing laws regarding the theft of
recyclable materials from waste carts in an attempt to be

responsible to our citizens,

a local police sergeant said.
Agency plans to prosecute theft of waste

Waste collection asks local law officers to enforce laws against theft from curbside recycle bins

The Hollister Police Department and the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office will now be enforcing laws regarding the theft of recyclable materials from waste carts in an attempt to be “responsible to our citizens,” a local police sergeant said.

Homeless Task Force Shelter Manager Cindy Parr, though, said most of the people going through the bins are “clean” and “don’t leave a mess” and that prosecuting the homeless for these types of crimes is putting “a burden on the city.”

California law says that once the bins are placed on the street for pick-up, the materials inside belong to the collection agency, which is Norcal Waste System. The collection agency has been in contact with police and sheriff’s officials and has said the company will cooperate with the prosecution of thefts from recycling bins.

Phil Couchee, general manager of Norcal Waste Systems, which operates the county’s waste disposal, said that there have been discussions on this subject “for quite some time,” with more movement forward in the last month.

Norcal Waste Systems receives complaints about people going through recycling bins “occasionally.” Along with the theft of recyclables, there are also concerns of identity theft matters, when someone may toss important documents in the recycling.

“We might get a complaint a week about a scavenger going through their recycling the night before,” Couchee said.

Parr said she doesn’t understand the problem.

“Our city has more problems to worry about than this,” Parr said. “We need to leave the homeless alone. Our waste dollars can go towards a lot more than that.”

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